Xbox Live All-Sky Camera

I picked up an Xbox Live camera very cheaply in the hope that it might be comparable to the SPC900 for planetary imaging. Very quickly however that turned out not to be the case. When testing the camera I discovered that the sensor is far too noisy, even after scraping the LEDs off the PCB.

What I did discover though is that the camera can be manually configured to have a maximum exposure time of about ten seconds which makes it possible to pick up stars. The camera is therefore a candidate for making an all-sky camera. I had a quick try-out this evening point the camera and Gemini and Leo and the stars do show up though they’re out of focus. Focus needs to be set during the day, I think, so that’s the next step. Here’s a still from a short video sequence I captured from the camera tonight:

The brightest point is Mars, and to the right above and below it at least five of the stars from the Leo asterism are visible, as well as a number of other stars in that constellation. They’re fuzzy grey blobs, but they are definitely there. I think it shows promise.

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